New rivalries are sure to be born later this summer when Indian Creek begins competition as a member of the Western Indiana Conference.
Braves coaches look forward to the challenge.
“I think the kids are excited about it,” said 16th-year football coach Mike Gillin, whose program’s WIC debut takes place in a Sept. 2 game at Owen Valley. “As coaches we’re preparing for totally different offenses and defenses.
Story continues below gallery
“What I like is going into the tournament a little more game-tough. I really think it’s going to be a beneficial thing.”
Gillin uses the 2014 Indian Creek season as a powerful reference point.
The Braves outscored their final three regular-season opponents — North Decatur, Broad Ripple and South Decatur — by a total of 171-14. Indian Creek then hosted a good Hamilton Heights squad in its Class 3A sectional opener and lost 28-27.
It was the Braves’ only loss of the season.
Indian Creek’s upcoming regular-season foes in Weeks 5 to 8 — Triton Central, Edgewood, Cascade and Cloverdale (as well as a possible berth in the WIC playoff in Week 9) — are expected to provide a higher level of competition.
A member of the Mid-Hoosier Conference since becoming a newly consolidated high school in 1967, Indian Creek now is part of a 12-school league in which there are two divisions, East and West.
Nine counties are represented, with four WIC schools located in Putman County (Cloverdale, Greencastle, North Putnam and South Putnam).
Indian Creek competes in the East Division in which Brown County High School will be the nearest rival (19 miles one way) and Cloverdale the furthest (47 miles).
All Braves sports teams are now able to compete for conference championships.
Previously, wrestling, girls golf and girls/boys swimming programs weren’t provided such an opportunity because the six-school Mid-Hoosier Conference had too few schools playing those sports.
“For me, it makes us all one. Every sport is going to be in the same conference,” Indian Creek athletics director Justin Ray said. “I don’t think transportation is going to be too much of an issue.”
Come basketball season, all WIC varsity games are girls/boys doubleheaders will be played on Friday nights. In accordance, there will be WIC girls/boys junior varsity doubleheaders played on Thursday nights.
Dan Burkman, the school’s eighth-year girls basketball coach, said one potential challenge will be trying to make a road JV game after conducting his Thursday practice.
“For the school, I think it’s a good thing,” Burkman said. “Overall for girls basketball the competition is going to be better for us, but I’m not sure it’s going to cut down on travel. Even schools like Cascade that don’t sound very far away is quite a drive.”
Braves volleyball coach Kristi Gubert said she believes the advantage of moving to the WIC in her sport is the more even level of competition.
Last season, for instance, Mid-Hoosier champion Hauser finished 34-2 overall after previously capturing Class A regional titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014. At the bottom of the standings was Waldron, which finished 1-17.
“In our old conference, some teams were Final Four teams and some didn’t even make it past sectionals. I think this will be very beneficial to our volleyball program,” Gubert said.
“It will give us a chance to play against new teams, and the competition matches our level of play.”
WESTERN INDIANA CONFERENCE
Brown County, Cascade, Cloverdale, Edgewood, Indian Creek and Owen Valley
Greencastle, North Putnam, Northview, South Putnam, Sullivan and West Vigo